The goal of our 1 Day Disney World Tickets guide is to help you understand everything there is to know about 1 Day tickets for Disney World. We’re going to cover how they work, who can sell them and any current promotions that are being offered. In the past 5 years, a guide like this would be non-existent as Disney has always kept their 1 (and 2 day) tickets to themselves, offering no discount on either one. However, with COVID-19, things have changed and it seems (at least on this front) for the better as there are ways to purchase them outside of Disney and receive a discount.
1 Day tickets have always been one of the most popular tickets for guests to purchase at Disney World Resort. One of the reasons for this is conventions in Orlando. People find themselves out in Florida for a work convention and end up wanting to visit the parks for 1 day. Even outside of these, there are millions of guests who are passing through and want to spend a day at Disney World. Whatever the reason is, 1 Day tickets are very popular for anyone who can’t spend 3+ days at the resort.
The downside to 1 Day tickets is that they can be very expensive. This was the first ticket type to move over to date-based pricing before any multi-day tickets did. Basically Disney found them to be so popular, having a major impact on crowds, that they decided to make them more expensive on busier days and less expensive on less crowded days. This helped evenly spread the crowds, particularly in the summertime when the resort gets busy. Even so, 1 Day tickets can command a hefty price, starting at $115 and going all the way up to $159 for just a Base Ticket (1 park).
Hence Disney has always kept them close, not allowing even 3rd party sellers to offer them to their clients. This has been going on for several years now…until 2020 happened. Disney World closed their gates in March of 2020 and didn’t reopen them until July of that year. When they did open their gates again, things were different. Social distancing and mask wearing is mandatory for all guests. Same with getting your temperature checked. Many shows have been closed and construction halted. The Park Pass Reservations system was created to help limit the number of guests allowed into the parks. And yes, the 1 Day tickets were modified so that 3rd party sellers could offer them.
So what does this mean for you? As a guest who may only have 1 day to visit the parks, you now have several options when it comes to purchasing them. Let’s go over those in detail now.
BUYING 1 DAY DISNEY WORLD TICKETS
First and foremost, when we say several options, were talking about 2. It’s not many, we get it, but it’s one more than what there used to be for the past 5+ years. So for us, this is a big deal. It is for you too. As we mentioned, Disney has been the only seller of 1-Day tickets that anyone trusted, for a long time. Now, things have changed and there’s a new online seller who’s offering them as well. First, some things to consider:
Before you jump into buying 1 Day tickets you want to be absolutely sure you’re not going to be visiting for any more days than this. 1 Day tickets are the base price, the starting point for all tickets. It means you’re going to pay the absolute most for 1 day in the park. From here, the price per day only decreases. So if you decide you want to go for just 1 day, you’re going to pay somewhere between $115 and $244 depending on the day and options you choose. Now let’s say you find room in your schedule and can now go for 3 days. The day that costs you $244 now only costs $177 per day. That’s a difference of $67!
You can see where we’re going with this. It’s always cheaper to spend more days in the park than just one. Something to think about while planning your vacation. We understand though, that not everyone has that kind of time and a 1 Day ticket is their only option if they want to visit.
If this is the situation that you find yourself in, we highly recommend buying your tickets from the newest authorized 1-Day ticket seller Undercover Tourist. We’ve been recommending them for a long time for all tickets and are glad to be able to for 1 day as well. We’ll get more into discounts and pricing on these in just a minute but for now, let’s talk about what you can expect when buying from them.
Undercover Tourist has been one of Disney’s closest partners and authorized ticket sellers for well over a decade. They were one of the firsts to partner with them and join their wholesale side. We’ve always been impressed with their service and their pricing when compared with others in the market. When you purchase from them, your experience is going to be identical to Disney’s.
You can purchase your tickets with them online on desktop or mobile phone. You’ll have the option to have your tickets mailed or emailed to you for free. Your tickets can be linked to your My Disney Experience account online after purchase and you’ll be able to make park reservations once this is done. The only difference is that you’ll save money on your tickets which clearly, is a good thing.
When buying from Disney directly, you’ll receive the same tickets but you’ll end up paying more. This is because Disney has zero reason to discount them as most tickets are actually purchased at a box office than in advance when it comes to 1 Day tickets. For this reason, Disney is not incentivized to offer a sale or promotion on them. They realize the guest has parked, walked and is ready to go in no matter the cost. This example is another great reason that we recommend you buy in advance. It allows you to plan and think through things before making a big decision.
DISCOUNTED 1 DAY DISNEY WORLD TICKETS
So you know that there is at least 1 authorized seller out there who can offer a discount on 1 Day tickets. Now we need to know how much it is. We’ll preface this with some very honest truth: it’s not a lot…but it’s something and that’s what matters. You’re going to have to start thinking in micro-savings right now which is always a good idea for Disney. A little bit of savings goes a long way here.
With Disney offering no discount on tickets, things can only get better when looking at a seller who does. Right now our friends at Undercover Tourist are offering a discount of $6 off on 1-Day tickets. Now before you think you’ve wasted your time here because you were expecting $50 off, we’ll remind you that, first, this is Disney we’re talking about. The word “discount” doesn’t exist in their vocabulary. Second, Disney World tickets are never half-off or anything close to that. The days of $100 is long gone and in place, a pretty penny to be able to walk in through their gates.
So, having said all that, we want you to start thinking this way: if I buy and save $6 per guest, I’ll be able to get each one of them a pretzel with cheese or an ice cream sundae at the parks with that saved money. This is the way. For all the effort that you put into buying your tickets and the fact that it’s the same process either way, $6 is awesome. When you to the register to buy popcorn and realise that you’re paying close to $6 for each one, you’ll be grateful you went with the $6 discounted tickets instead of full price.
1 DAY DISNEY WORLD BASE TICKETS
For anyone who’s looking to visit just 1 park for 1 day, the base ticket is what you will want to purchase. It allows access to 1 of the 4 theme parks including Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom. Before you used to have to choose which park, in advance, you were going to attend when you purchased these tickets. This is no longer necessary as prices for each of the parks is only based on the date now and not the individual park.
Base tickets are the least expensive of all 1 Day tickets and cost between $115 to $159 depending on the day you visit. Base tickets do not allow you to visit more than 1 park for the day. With all 1-Day tickets, you will want to arrive as early as possible to the park you’ll be attending and stay as late as possible to get the most value out of them. If one theme park isn’t enough you may want to look at a Park Hopper though we don’t recommend this option if you’ve never been to any of the parks. It’s best to just focus on 1 park for the entire day than to go from one to another.
1 DAY DISNEY WORLD PARK HOPPER TICKETS
Park Hoppers allow you to visit more than 1 park on the day of your visit. You can hop between all 4 parks if you want without issue. This ticket starts at $174 and goes all the way up to $224 on the busiest days of the year for 2021. The busiest times typically include summer and the last 2 weeks of December. If these dates can be avoided you can save a decent amount of money. May may want to look at our Best & Worst Months to Visit Disney World for some better, less expensive months.
Because Park Hoppers are an advance ticket and 1-Day doesn’t offer much time to explore the resort, we only recommend getting this ticket if you been to the theme parks before and know exactly what you want to do. Some advanced planning is required to get the full value out of this ticket. During COVID, because there are Park Hopping limitations, we don’t recommend doing this. We would suggest you stick with the Base Ticket until these restrictions are gone.
If you do end up wanting to try it out, you will need to have that plan in place. You’ll need to go to your first park of the day and complete what you want there. This park should be the one that you want to spend the most time in. At 2 p.m. you can then switch over to another park. Keep in mind that you’ll be spending anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes just to bus or walk to a different park.
Covering all 4 theme parks in one day is possible but you’ll have to narrow down your ride list to just a few attractions per park and take into account your travel time. You may want to look at our Touring Plans for each one as they can help you decide how to get around them as fast as possible.
1 DAY PARK HOPPER PLUS TICKETS
This is the ultimate ticket and maybe one of the most challenging tickets to get its entire value out of. While the 1 Day Park Hopper allows you to visit all 4 theme parks in one day, the Park Hopper Plus adds to this by giving you access to the Water Parks including Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. A holder of this ticket will have everything available to them at the resort but only one day to them.
This poses a challenge: is there enough time to do it all in one day? The answer is yes; but you won’t enjoy most of it. You’ll spend a lot of your time on transportation between everything. Most guests spend their time in the parks which leaves very little time for a water park. If you end up not getting to one, it will have been a waste of money to add the “plus” on to the ticket. For anyone who attempts to use this ticket, we recommend looking long and hard at the Park Hopper instead. It’s almost impossible to get value from it.
LEGITIMATE TICKET SELLERS
We always preface our ticket pages with a warning and it’s the same here. You should only ever buy tickets from an authorized ticket seller. There aren’t many out there so your choices are few but the good news is that your hard-earned money will get you something usable at the parks and not a scam. There are a few ways of identifying a legit ticket seller.
First, these seller never use the name “Disney” or any form of it in their name or business. This is not allowed per copyright so if you do come across a “seller” using “Disney” or “Disney World” in their name (other than Disney themselves) it’s probably a scam.
Second, 3rd party ticket sellers will never offer you half-priced tickets. As much as you (and we) want them, they don’t exist in this market. It’s best to stay away from eBay, Craigslist, classifieds and other selling apps. Real ticket sellers are going to offer discounts between $3 and $55, some up to $80 depending on the ticket. So if Disney’s website lists a ticket for $420 and you find the same one for $210, run! The only legitimate deal that comes close to this is Military Tickets and you have to be active or retired to take advantage of this deal.
ARE DISNEY WORLD TICKETS CHEAPER AT THE GATE OR ONLINE?
It used to be that Disney World Tickets were cheaper when they were bought online, in advance. However, this is no longer the case since Disney moved over to their date-based ticket pricing system. Now, tickets are the same cost whether you buy them online or in person at a box office. While this process has changed, we still highly recommend you buy them online as you will be able to save time by skipping any lines there may be at the ticket counters and go directly into the parks.
This new method also applies to 1 Day Tickets whether purchased in person or online. The reason for Disney to charge more in person was the manpower that was dedicated to something that could easily be done (and probably faster) from a cell phone or computer. In-person purchasing requires a Cast Member’s time and attention which could have been dedicated to other things. Thus Disney was charging $30 extra per ticket when it came to a guest buying in person.
These days Disney seems to be manning less box offices since they switched over to date-based prices.
Are you looking to plan a Walt Disney World vacation? We’ve got lots of guides to help you plan the perfect vacation. Start with our Disney World Planning Guide to help you get a good overview of what’s going on and how to prepare. Next look at our discounted tickets guide to help you find the best deals on tickets and how to avoid scams. We also offer a packing guide to help you bring all the stuff that’s important for a Disney vacation. Lastly, don’t miss out on all our Hotel Rankings and Reviews so you can pick the perfect place to stay on or off property.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.